Mo: Don't have to prove anything to anyone

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
11:28
PM ET
Mariano Rivera is not the greatest closer of all time because he holds on to failure. He lets it go and patiently waits for his next chance.

So after being perfect in his initial 18 save opportunities, Rivera blew his first game of the year during the Subway Series on Tuesday. He didn't record an out for the first time in his career. At 43 years old, that doesn't faze him.

[+] EnlargeMariano Rivera
William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER/USA TODAY SportsMariano Rivera picked up his 19th save of the year Friday night against the Red Sox.
"You know you are going to blow one," Rivera said. "You know you are going to win, you are going to save, that's part of the game. The thing is how can you bounce back after that. When you understand the game you know that those situations are going to happen. You will be OK. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last time."

Rivera picked up his American League-best 19th save of the season in the Yankees' 4-1 win over the Red Sox. There was a little tension as he allowed a couple of one-out singles to bring the tying run to the plate. He quickly squashed the threat, striking out Mike Napoli and forcing Stephen Drew to meekly ground back to him.

"I wasn't anxious," Rivera said. "I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I just have to be patient and wait for my opportunity and when I got it, I made sure I did my job."

The narrative that Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis' return helped spark the Yankees' first victory after five straight losses is a convenient one. But Rivera wasn't buying.

"I told you already, we are a team and two guys ain't going to make the team," Rivera said.

Rivera also isn't going to let one hiccup derail him. He's seen it all before, and he knows the past is the past. He was focused on Friday, not Tuesday.

"I wish I could bring it back, but I can't," Rivera said.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.285 13 61 63
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 61
RB. Gardner 78
OPSB. Gardner .779
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.94
SOM. Tanaka 135